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    This project with its new arena for the Senators and a $3 billion development of the LeBreton Flats site , not far from Parliament Hill took a big step towards reality today. An agreement in principle was reached for the NCC (a federal government agency) to sell the land to the consortium that wants to build on it. The arena could begin construction sometime next year.


    NCC, RendezVous strike LeBreton Flats deal


    Preliminary agreement with Senators-backed developer could see construction begin as early as 2019

    CBC News Posted: Jan 25, 2018 8:58 AM ET Last Updated: Jan 25, 2018 12:26 PM ET


    RendezVous LeBreton Group and the NCC have come to an agreement in principle over developing the 21 hectares of land at LeBreton Flats. (Image supplied by RendezVous LeBreton Group)


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    The National Capital Commission has reached an agreement in principle with RendezVous LeBreton to redevelop LeBreton Flats, a coveted 21-hectare patch of mostly vacant land beside Ottawa's core.
    There's still a long way to go — it could take another 18 months to finalize the agreement and begin construction, possibly as soon as next year.
    The Ottawa Senators-led winning bid to develop the land centred around a new NHL arena, and also included an accessible community centre, 4,000 units of housing, a French-language public school and public space.
    NCC CEO Mark Kristmanson said Thursday the agreement lays out the conditions for an eventual sale of public land to RendezVous Lebreton.


    Kristmanson said the agreement forms the basis of what will still be challenging negotiations over the next 18 months with the developers, the city and Indigenous leaders.
    Construction could begin as soon as 2019 or 2020, he said.
    "I am thrilled to be one step closer to bringing Ottawa Senators fans a more enjoyable fan experience," said Senators owner Eugene Melnyk in a news release issued Thursday.
    "Though there are still many hurdles to overcome, today we have moved closer to realizing a vision for LeBreton Flats — creating a place of pride for Ottawa residents, the Ottawa Senators hockey team and visitors."
    "This was an important step," said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson after the meeting. "If we couldn't agree on the land, the whole project would be stuck in the mud."
    Watson said today's news allows the city to start its own talks with RendezVous LeBreton.
    No price tag yet

    Negotiating a land deal has been slow-going, with RendezVous LeBreton chosen as the preferred bid in spring 2016.
    Senators owner Eugene Melnyk once mused about the team playing in a new downtown rink in 2020-21.
    That timeline is all but impossible, with a land deal not expected to be finalized until the summer of 2019 at the earliest.
    Marco Zanetti, the NCC's director of real estate, said the cost of the land will be determined only after the final cost of cleaning up the soil is known. The site became contaminated over decades of industrial use.
    Kristmanson said the plan is to decontaminate the site bit-by-bit over the next 15 to 20 years of development.
    When asked by reporters about how much the federal government would contribute, Kristmanson would only say the plans for LeBreton Flats would benefit federal taxpayers.
    Development to happen in 2 phases

    Zanetti said the redevelopment will take place in two phases, not three as originally planned. The arena and community centre will be part of the first phase, he said.
    Kristmanson said the NCC maintains final say over land use and design.


    Today's meeting is also the first for five new board members.
    At the start of the meeting, new board member Norm Odjick — the first Indigenous member ever — declared an unspecified conflict of interest on the LeBreton Flats file, meaning he could not speak to the issue or ask questions.
    It's not yet known whether the rest will feel comfortable weighing in on such an important file this early in their mandates.
    Other topics up for discussion Thursday included plans for the linear park on both the northern and southern banks of the Ottawa River.
    Follow CBC's city affairs analyst Joanne Chianello on Twitter @jchianello, or in the liveblog, for live coverage of the meeting beginning at 9 a.m

    Last edited by ottawafan; 2018-01-25 at 09:07.

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